Mental health nurses' attitudes towards risk assessment: An integrative systematic review

Geoffrey Dickens*, Mohammed Al Maqbali, Nutmeg Hallett, Robin Ion, Mariyana Schoultz, Fiona Watson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Understanding nurses’ attitudes towards risk assessment could inform education and practice improvements.

To explore mental health nurses’ attitudes towards risk assessment.

An integrative systematic review (PROSPERO: CRD42023398287). Multiple databases (PubMed, CINAHL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO) were searched for primary studies of mental health nurses’ attitudes towards risk assessment. Qualitative studies were subject to inductive coding and thematic analysis; quantitative data were integrated with emerging themes.

Eighteen papers were included. Qualitative studies commonly lacked rigorous analyses. Four themes emerged: underlying purpose and legitimacy of risk assessment (philosophical orientation); use of structured approaches (technical orientation); value of intuition (intuitive orientation); and service user involvement (relationships orientation). There were contradictory study findings in each thematic category indicating different attitudes among mental health nurses.

Mental health nurses’ attitudes towards risk assessment vary in four key domains. Survey studies suggest they are more approving of structured approaches to risk assessment than many qualitative studies suggest. There is a need to develop a valid measure of attitudes to risk assessment.

Implications for practice
This review could help health organizations to develop strategies to improve their risk assessment policies and practice. There is a need to develop structured training and education programs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1137-1151
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing
Issue number6
Early online date23 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2023

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